Targets for Meetings

Targets for Meetings

People in organizations nationwide report that most of the meetings they attend are a poor use of their time. Energy drops rather than rises and the search for agreement can blunt sharp edges of insight.  More considerations come in.  Nothing much resolved? No worries…we will call another meeting!   

Not in Manatee County with this 2020 Results First initiative of Targets for Meetings. Simply put, Manatee County Government is prototyping with a number of persons on our “Go First” team, which is a shift from following an agenda to achieving a target. ​​​​​​​

Target driven meetings offer two kinds of gains… ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

   More Efficiency:

  • Shorter meetings. Nothing is encouraged to be entered that does not directly contribute to achieving the result stated.
  • Less people. Only those who can directly contribute to achieving the result are present. 
  • Fewer meetings. Convenings are not the only way to accomplish things.  

   More Effectiveness:

  • Higher quality. Shorter and sharper meetings tend to build more insight.
  • More energy.  People stay engaged with a rapid pace and lose energy when discussion goes on and on.
  • Stronger follow up. Group ownership more readily includes individual initiative.

This video will put you in the TFM picture:

Five Steps put targets to the front and the back of all meetings you hold: 

  1. In advance of the meeting, define the target and decide who can add value to achieving it. Invite them and share the target.
  2. As the meeting begins, restate the target and define your guiding role in achieving it.
  3. During the meeting, actively guide interactions to hit the target.
  4. At the end of the meeting, say the results achieved.
  5. After the meeting, follow up immediately.

If you want detailed guidelines for each step click and you shall receive!  Email:

Does it work?

Here are reflections by county staff who have gone first to try TFM:

“My Results First project was to reduce meeting times. Our current structure was to hold a weekly meeting with fleet administration, support staff, supervisors, and superintendents. These meetings were scheduled to be 1 hour but generally ran 2+ hours. This caused a large reduction in attendees production along with lost time for travel to the meeting site. The meetings didn’t seem to get anything moving forward and we just continued the cycle of discussing the same thing or ran off agenda discussing items that did not benefit the entire leadership team. Since I constantly work with the fleet operations team they have the strategic direction we need to move directing there staff to what needs to be accomplished. To reduce overall travel time I have a short onsite discussion with the same employees – this allows me to show them direct attention and discuss what we need, along with showing them direct attention. There was push back especially from the longer term employees but the majority had ran with the culture change. The result was a measurement of time savings and customer service. Time saving turned into a $50k + in labor savings to the division along with boosted production.”

-Matt Case, Fleet Division Manager, Public Works

​​​​​​​”The facilities I manage are in the process of obtaining 2-3 software programs. The IT department requested that our team create a work flow of what we need to get done to make sure we are getting the best software systems. At the beginning of these work flow meetings, I ask first, “What are we trying to achieve?” This really helped us focus on the results we needed by using this software as opposed to only the processes themselves. We were much more effective in the meetings.”

​​​​​​​-Anna Pohl, General Manager, Bradenton Area Convention Center

“Using a target meeting strategy has hugely helped me conduct more efficient meetings in terms of using less time to meet, staying on task and keeping the end result in mind. Meeting participants are more prepared at the start of the meeting and are able to jump in with actionable solutions, and report they feel energized and motivated to get back to their desk and press forward with their action items.

-Christine Fritz, Wellness Manager, Employee Health Benefits

“Due to our division being responsible for the administration and implementation of Federal and State funding, we are required to hold workshops to guide agencies through the funding application process. With a nonprofit workshop being scheduled during the Targets for Meetings time frame, I chose to implement the TFM process with this meeting. My objectives or outcomes were to shorten the time frame of the meeting, state the targeted outcomes at the beginning to set the mind set and also allow space for questions and answers to gain greater understanding. Using the TFM tool in the presentation, the end result was overwhelmingly positive in gained understanding by the attendees, the flow of the presentation as well as feedback allowed the meeting to be conducted and finalized as hour earlier than scheduled which allowed sufficient time for the attendees to absorb the meeting content and staff to stay on target with an accomplished outcome.”

-Denise L. Thomas, Housing and Community Development Manager, Redevelopment and Economic Opportunity